By DAVID GREEN
From her desk at the Fayette village office, Dee Potter doesn’t know how many times she’s expected to see a flattened cat lying in Main Street outside her window.
It’s not just any old cat. It’s Jeb that she’s talking about—an orange and white tomcat that claims the west side of the business district as his domain.
With the heavy traffic of U.S. 20 passing through Fayette, Jeb may be pushing his luck when he simply ignores the cars and semis and puts his trust in the kindness of motoring strangers.
So far, he keeps making it through another day.
Lowell Beaverson is the person most familiar with Jeb. The cat belonged to his daughter, the late Jana Beaverson.
“This is the cat that always went to work with her every morning,” Dee said, and then let Lowell take over the tale.
The cat arrived at Jana’s house one day and she took him in. She had him neutered and tried to get him to integrate with her two other cats.
“They didn’t get along all that well,” Lowell said, “and poor Jeb was relegated to the outdoors. But when Jana went to work, Jeb was always there waiting and he went to work with her.”
Jeb became a familiar fixture to customers at Lowell’s insurance agency.
“After Jana passed away, Jeb became a town cat,” Lowell said.
Don’t ask him where Jeb lives because no one really knows for sure. Lowell has seen him sleeping under Dumpsters and at one time he was sneaking into the upstairs at Beaverson Real Estate.
“He’s got spots all over town,” Dee said.
Jeb makes his rounds downtown every day, Dee said. Gary Ragsdale at the Buckboard Bar and Grille feeds him, Brooke Right at Fayette Floral and Gift feeds him, and maybe others.
“If Brooke has her doors open, he comes in the front and goes on out the back,” Dee said.
The only problem is when Jeb wants to jump up on shelves in the flowershop. That’s going too far.
Jeb also became a pest at Richard Stambaugh’s house on Spring Street after he discovered the cat door for Richard’s own pets, and Jeb tried to make it his home.
Richard heard that it was the insurance agency cat and he brought him back to Lowell, not just once but twice. Jeb seemed to get the message.
Jeb isn’t alone in the world.
“He has a little friend,” Lowell said. “She’s a long-haired dark tortoise shell color. She and Jeb hang out.”
As far as Lowell knows, Gary is the only one who’s allowed to pet her.
She and Jeb have shared some adventures together. They both jumped out the window above Beaverson Realty after Gene inadvertently closed a door they had pushed open.
Lowell wouldn’t be surprised if the two of them curled up together to keep warm over the winter—maybe under the old historic building on the Village Green.
Although Jana is gone, Jeb still waited for Lowell to arrive at the insurance agency every morning at 9 a.m.
“Sometimes he’d spend the whole day there, sometimes he would want to go out in the afternoon. If I gave him some food outside, he would just stare off into the distance until his friend arrived and he’d share it with her.”
After the agency was sold and remodeling got underway, Jeb would walk in, look around and leave again. His favorite chair was gone, as well as his owner.
A lot of people who don’t particularly like cats have taken a shining to Jeb, Lowell said, and many have been amused by his antics and predicaments. Lowell still recalls the day Jeb had a stick of candy stuck to his tail. Removal was handled by Gary.
“I just saw the darndest sight,” someone told Lowell one day. “I was at the bank and there was a cat sitting out in the middle of Fayette Street with traffic going both ways.”
“Was it yellow and white?” Lowell asked. He knew what the answer would be.
“That cat has nine lives and he’s gone through 29,” Dee said.
“Hurry up, cat!” she said later, looking out the window.
Of course it was Jeb slowly making his way across Main Street.